Green Report: Dab choices

Dylan Simonson

A Faberge egg glass dab rig on the left side of a dab mat, next to some hash and its container on the right
Dab rig and nail (Photo credit: Rick Cookson)

There are many various choices one must make in equipment when it comes to dabbing. From nails material, type, and what you are going to use to heat them with.

To start with, let us start with the dab nail material. There are technically four major materials to choose from, but glass breaks too easy and has no real benefits that quartz doesn’t do better, so we are going to skip it.

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The first material to go over is titanium. The biggest advantage to these types of nails is their durability, it is impossible to break these in normal circumstances. The next advantage is how long they keep heat. They can keep heat at a moderate length, so you can take your time dabbing. The biggest downside to a titanium nail however, is the lack of flavor profile. Titanium nails distort the flavor of your wax, making almost everything taste like the same, slightly metallic flavor. The next biggest downside is how long they take to heat up which can be a while, compared to quartz or glass. They can also be a little costly depending on the grade and style, which you should always use grade 2 titanium for health purposes.

Ceramic is the next option. Ceramic has a better, cleaner taste than titanium, but still does not truly capture the terpenes of the hash. The biggest advantage ceramic nails offer, is how long they retain heat, being the longest out of all the choices. The largest downfall however, is how fragile they are. Ceramic nails do not withstand temperature change well and will crack easily when dropped. Even when ceramic nails are kept perfectly, without being dropped and while being careful of gradual temperature changes, they will crack just from use over time. Partially due to this, they take a long time to heat up.

Lastly, we have my personal choice, a quartz nail. Quartz nails capture the flavor of your hash the best beyond comparison. They heat up the quickest too, but on the downside, they cool down the quickest. They break less than ceramic, and will not break over time if kept correctly, but can break from being dropped. This type of nail is still the winner in my book.

The next set of options is the type or style of nail. There are two basic classes, with domeless and domed.

Domed nails require an extra step and are not ideal for taking multiple dabs, as the dome gets hot. They also must be regularly cleaned so the dome does not get stuck. The airflow is also poor compared to the best types of domeless nails. Basically, try to avoid these, even if the dome looks cool.

Domeless nails come in many varieties compared to domed. To keep it short, I will stick to the one that I and many other people consider to be the best type of domeless nail, the banger. These normally only come in quartz (and glass), although titanium can be found sometimes. They are basically a deep cylinder with the top cut off, making them able to contain a large amount of melting hash, and easy to drop your dabs into, without having to use a dab tool. That is if your wax allows it based on its consistency.

You can heat your nails with a variety of things, although, you are going to need more than your standard pocket dragon AKA your lighter. One option is a torch. Torches normally use butane or propane and there are benefits and downfalls to each, just like dab nail materials.

Butane torches burn the cleanest out of all torches. They are also safe to use and store indoors. The bad thing about them is they do not work well in the cold, and cost more than propane torches, for both the refill, and the torch itself.

Propane torches will not give out in the cold though, and they smell less and burn hotter than butane torches. So, they will heat your nail quicker. Propane is also all around cheaper. They do produce carbon monoxide however, and therefore should not be used without proper ventilation and should not be stored indoors.

Another method of heating is an E-Nail. The superior option too heating your nail, the only downfall is the price, although it is a big downfall. E-nails often cost more than $200 at the some of the cheapest, and they need special nails the coil can wrap around. E-nails normally use or come with titanium nails, but quartz and ceramic can be found. Sadly, quartz banger E-nails are not too practical and break somewhat easy, at least from my experience. The best part about E-nails, is they stay hot, at whatever temperature you set it at, for as long as it is on. This can be a double-edged sword though, be careful not to forget and touch it or knock it over.

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Now you know the basics on what to buy to suit your needs. It is all a preference based on what you like and can afford. Just be sure to stay safe and healthy when dabbing.

Collegian Blogger Dylan Simonson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @DylanSimonson0